- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2016

The Pentagon plans to lift the ban on transgender service members on July 1, USA Today reported.

An unnamed Defense official said top personnel plan to meet on Monday to finalize the details of the plan, which comes after nearly a year of behind-the-scenes deliberations.

The official said Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work could sign off on it by Wednesday, with final approval coming from Defense Secretary Ash Carter by the end of the week.

LGBT-rights groups praised the impending announcement.

“At long last, thousands of brave transgender patriots will be able to serve our nation openly with the respect they deserve,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement. “This historic announcement will not only extend long-overdue recognition to thousands of transgender service members, it will strengthen our military and our nation.”

The plan would direct each branch of the armed forces to implement new policies within one year regarding housing, recruitment, and uniforms for transgender service members, the official said.

Mr. Carter last July ordered a six-month study aimed at examining the military’s ban on transgender military personnel.

Republicans have questioned whether the study could remain impartial given the current political climate.

Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, questioned at the time how lifting the ban would affect the regulation of intimate military facilities.

“To what extent would military barracks, ship berths, gym shower facilities, latrines, and other facilities have to be modified to accommodate personnel in various stages of transition and what would be the projected cost of the modifications?” Mr. Thornberry said in a letter last July.

Department officials reportedly responded to his inquiry in September.

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